Friday, March 14, 2008

Weekly Wish - Women who rock!

This was a big week for After a Fashion. While having a virtual meet-up on Monday, we decided to have a real-life dinner gabfest at Fire on the East Side Wednesday night, along with the divine Jen Evans (centre).

As we shared insightful conversation and lots of laughs over good eats and pretty martinis, there was a lot of discussion about why women in the social media space aren’t getting as much recognition as they should.

From my Bargainista perspective, most of the people pitching me are either women with little blogger-relations know-how or straight men who just don’t have the requisite passion for products or services targeted to women.

I interviewed some young PRs on twitter (note: predominantly male) and asked them where the females were. They said there are just as many Canadian women PR students and/or recent grads embracing social media but the males are far more active and vocal.

PodCamp Toronto 2008 was an unconference for podcasters and social media enthusiasts held in February. I was a member of the organizing team. We had 7 members (3 women; 4 men). We treated each other respectfully every step of the way. When it came to the actual sessions and attendees however, women were definitely in the minority. What was even more disconcerting was the lack of young girls. There were a handful of teens in attendance: all male.

Taking stock of the marketing/PR/corporate communications professionals who blog and podcast (I belong to that community too), the content creators are predominantly male.

Although based in Connecticut, Joseph Jaffe who wields a pretty big stick in the social media community, put out a call for requests to join his blogroll. At last count, 33 men and only 3 women responded.

The men in this community are a tight-knit group and share a lot of link love, not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing. On a one-to-one basis, they seem to have a lot of respect for their female peers but many only shower their love on a couple. When it comes to blogrolls and conference speakers, women are also noticeably absent. Why?

Women who are active in the digital and social media space can’t blame it all on the men. We can and should do a far better job of promoting ourselves and sharing the love. It’s up to us to make our voices heard and get more involved in the community.

As a start, I’ve added a new blogroll - Women who rock! - it lists my female friends and those I admire in this space (with the exception of those on the original Bargainista blogroll). Stay tuned for more real-life initiatives supporting women from the After a Fashion gals this spring.

So this week, if you haven’t already figured it out, I’m wishing us gals will stand up and be counted. Have your voices heard and share the love!

Pictured (l-to-r) Michelle Tampoya, Connie Crosby, Kate Trgovac, Jen Evans, me, Kathryn Lagden and Jenny Bullough.


  1. So true! Women who rock are definitely harder to find in the blogsphere. I'm constantly looking for new blogs to add to my blogroll, but often come up empty-handed.

    I wonder if a community exists for female bloggers to band together and create relationships...

  2. Wow! Thanks so much for including me in your "women who rock" list! I work in a female dominated industry (librarianship) and while there are a lot of prominent female bloggers in the biblioblogosphere (don't laugh! That is what we actually call it), there are disproportionally fewer female law library bloggers which is my area of specialty. I feel an article or three--as well as a new blogroll of my own--coming on.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  3. Impressive group. Having seen my beloved recently go through labour, I've come to one conclusion. Women are smarter and tougher than men.

  4. In Montreal, I am going every month to YulBiz, an informal network of business bloggers. The communication/ PR/interactive media is well represented by 90% male. Women working in that industry assisted in small numbers to the meeting but are not bloggers or do not blog as much. It is sad!

    For the Women who rock, I suggest two women that are not afraid to say what they think:
    Tara Hunt from Citizen Agency -

    Casey McKinnon, actress, producer, writer and founder of a new media company

  5. Thanks again for thinking I rock! I really appreciate being included in the list.

    I think you've voiced a pretty unique point of view. Which, now that I think about it, is kind of sad. I bet many female PR practitioners, bloggers, etc. feel the same way you do about being outnumbered in online spaces. But, just the same as not attending events like PodCamp, they're not letting it be known they exist and want to be heard!

    My classmates and I keep hearing, "PR is a female-dominated industry." Then, how come females aren't being recognized as much? There are too many answers to that question. But, I think you've made a great move. Let's show 'em what we've got : )

  6. Susie8:46 pm

    I came across this list the other day on the feeds -

  7. Katie, I don't know of any community exclusively for Canadian women bloggers but we may be on to something here. Stay tuned!

    Connie, Of course I've included you and you inspire me just as much, if not more than I've inspired you.

    Women dominate the shopping and fashion blogger community too. I happen to spend more of my time with the social media crowd because of my day job.

    Sulemaan, Thanks for stopping by and your compliments. I'm not advocating one gender is better than the other. I want to see more women feel comfortable in this space and recognize it will only happen if we're supportive of one another and praise our accomplishments.

    Kim, You definitely are a woman who rocks and you've been on my blogroll for a while. The stats for YulBiz are similar to the ones at many events in Toronto.

    I'll be sure add Tara Hunt and Casey McKinnon along with other rocking women. I see the list as one that evolves over time and is shaped by the community. Thanks.

    Rayanne, What can I say... this list wouldn't be complete without you. You're the only young women PR/comm student on twitter. You have a wonderful blog and you're not afraid to speak your mind.

    You're setting an excellent example for your classmates and I hope they're taking note.

    Susie, Thanks for stopping by and sharing the link to "10 (female) thought leaders, boiled down". Sam Lawrence rocks! He's done a wonderful job of highlighting some of the fabulous women in this space. I follow @Pistachio aka Laura Athavale Fitton on twitter. I'll see if I can follow the others on his list. I'm sure they can teach me a thing or two.

  8. Hey Eden thanks for the link love. Now, perhaps I should update that old blog...(wink).

    For women working in (or with) technology, the Toronto Girl Geek Dinners are an excellent place to connect with other like-minded women who rock.

  9. Leona,
    Thanks for your comment. I agree with you about Toronto Geek Girl Dinners. Unfortunately, the last two dinners were cancelled due to low attendance.

    I hope to see you at the next one.
    Here's a link to the Toronto Geek Girl Dinner blog for readers who aren't familiar with the group.

  10. This post is so interesting. I've definitely noticed that in the PF blogging community, the male bloggers rarely link/comment on the females blogs and vice-versa. I've chalked it up to different approaches - female PF are much more narrative even about money, whereas the male PF bloggers crunch numbers and compare strategies. And although I've given link love to a number of male PF I get 100 times more response from the women when I give them link love.
    Never fully realized it til your post. Not sure what to make of it.

  11. I'm so glad to see that you have started up this conversation and are linking me in with discovering many other ladies in my field.

    I'm one of the organizers of the Montreal Girl Geek Dinners, an avid blogger and social media and tech follower.

    Feel free to check out where I'm at and ladies- keep up the great work!

    Girly Geekdom

    Digi-Gal (my rarely updated localtech-centric blog!!!)

    Montreal Girl Geek Dinners

    To follow me on Twitter

    Oh and yes, Michelle Tampoya does indeed rock!!!

  12. Okay, your post is a bit of a magnet for the discussion right now. Here is a different perspective from SheGeeks: This isn't feminism, it's technology.

    Apparently she's not drinking the same koolade that we are. ;-)

  13. Nancy, thanks for your insights. Sounds like the west coast experience is similar to that of central Canada.

    TMCG, Glad you stopped by and thanks for sharing a list of women who you think should be added to my blogroll.

    Connie, thanks for sharing links to other blog posts with different perspectives.

    Thanks everyone for keeping this discussion going.

    It was never my intent to polarize men and women. It was my intention to create a greater awareness of interesting women in the Canadian social media space.

    To an extent I agree with SheGeeks - gender shouldn't matter - but in reality it may.

  14. Chris Clarke4:59 pm

    I put the call out for a blogroll, too. I got a lot more responses from women, though. Maybe it's just because no woman would ever want to be associated with a guy like Jaffe...

  15. Chris,
    Thanks for leaving a comment - why no link to your blog and why are you so anti-Jaffe? Inquiring minds want to know. ;)

  16. This is interesting, I graduated from PR a little over 2 years ago, and our class was 95% women. Haven't seen any of them blogging though.

    I've been blogging a couple years now with my day job and have been more focused on promoting the company than myself. Though recently I launched my own personal blog, but I really haven't done much to promote it yet. One day...

  17. Chris Clarke2:29 pm

    I have no idea why there's no link to my blog. Odd. It should show up this time.

    I liked the old Jaffe. I don't listen to his podcast or read his blog anymore. What little success he's had has changed him.

    He comes across as very aggressive, so I can understand why so many men would answer the call for his blogroll, and why so few women would want to be associated with him.

  18. Kelly, your blog rocks and has earned a spot on my blogroll.

    Chris, your blog rocks too but still no link. :( Interesting commentary about Joseph Jaffe. I stopped listening to him for awhile and have started up again. I like the shorter, more focused podcasts.

  19. Great convo, interesting to see how it has developed since it started last week. I'm honoured to be on the "women who rock" list - thanks. You're a true leader for going public with this discussion and putting a stake in the ground. I look forward to see how it continues to transpire.

  20. Kathryn, you rock! I wouldn't have this list without you!

    I'm truly amazed at the number of comments and the convo that's still going strong one week after the original post. I'm also inspired by the number of new voices and contributions to the discussion and both blogrolls. I'm equally pleased the convo isn't exclusive to women only and I welcome more readers, female and male to join in.

  21. Oh, this is great! Kind of like a Canadian W list? And a goldmine for us at Alphablogs, where we celebrate Canadian business bloggers (Canada 9-5 - right now it happens every 6 weeks).

  22. Great initiative, Eden - and I'm proud to be on your list. This is the age-old question, isn't it? Corporate 'America' has long had an old-boys' club .. but similiar initiatives for women are often looked down upon as 'feminist' (apparently that's a bad word). Even Girl Geek dinners feel the need to open the door to men (why, I'm not sure).

    Glad to have you and Dave Forde (Canada's top female bloggers) around to let us know about all these great women - I'll definitely be making changes to my blogroll.


  23. Alphablogs, Thanks.

    Michelle, IMHO, it's so important that we support one another. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, there are gender differences. Read the comments on Dave Forde's blog. The tone of the poll for the most influential women differs substantially from that of the comments on the poll for the most influential men.


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